RSD has implemented a new policy called “Hold Harmless”


Media by Anika Talyan

Some teachers are using Exam login as a way to give out assessments.

RSD released an email Monday about their new grading policy called “Hold Harmless,” which has been implemented during the district’s closure due to COVID-19.

This policy states Progress 2 grades will be locked in by Thursday and the grades will be re-evaluated at the end of the semester. If the final grade is lower than the Progress 2 grade then the final grade will be the Progress 2 grade.

This policy is in place as long as the district is closed for COVID-19, which as of right now is Wednesday, April 22.

In addition, semester finals are canceled.

“They made this decision because this one provided most opportunities for students to find success,” Junior Principal Dr. Dan Ramsey said.

The committee that made the decision contemplated many options such as continuing the normal grading policies and options such as making the class pass/fail, but eventually landed on the “Hold Harmless” policy, Dr. Ramsey said.

Principal Dr. Steve Hankins said the committee did not choose pass/fail because that option eliminated letter grades, which are important in applying for universities and scholarships. 

“We just really wanted the opportunity for students to have an incentive to continue learning and to help their grade,” Dr. Hankins said. 

The teachers are supposed to assign no more than 90 minutes of work a week, which may differ by how fast a student can complete the work. 

If a student does not complete an online assignment then they will get an incomplete in Infinite Campus but they will not be penalized in any other way. This decision was made because RSD does not know what students are going through at home, said Hankins.

Academic dishonesty is also a concern of the staff with online schooling.

Hankins said, if students look up answers to something that a teacher has assigned, that it is okay.

“They’re learning while they’re doing that,” Dr. Hankins said,

Anna Marren, sophomore, said academic dishonesty is going to be a big problem and that many kids are going to cheat. 

Marren said she is also surprised by “Hold Harmless” but sees it as the correct decision.

“They can’t make our grades worse because we’re teaching ourselves,” she said.

She said she had thought teachers and the district would help students with final exams, not cancel them altogether.

“I’m not against it because I am a high school student and I don’t like exams,” Marren said. 

Brittany Sharitz, language arts teacher, said RSD is making decisions that are best for the students and their families. 

“They don’t have the added stress of not knowing how they’re going to be able to navigate through their online learning and so that they do not have to worry as much about their grades,” Sharitz said.

Sharitz said she hopes teachers might be able to learn new teaching styles to help students learn the content when they get back to school. She also said teachers will spend a lot more time reviewing content to help students catch up.

“I hope that students are remembering the value of the educational process and the value of learning and that they are not just focused on grades,” Sharitz said.